To Neuter or Not to Neuter Your Dog? Pros and Cons

to neuter or not to neuter your dog

You’ve recently adopted a male dog or you’re considering buying one. Everyone around you has their own opinion of whether to neuter a dog. Now that you have a little puppy, you’re probably wondering the same.

If this is your first time owning a dog and you want to know how to be a responsible dog owner, choosing to neuter your canine is one of the most responsible ways you can care for them. Many responsible owners also install wireless dog fences to prevent their active pups from escaping the backyard.

To neuter or not to neuter your dog? When it comes to neutering, there is no one correct answer that will fit everyone. The answer depends on your preferences and your dog breeds. Below we discuss when you should or should not neuter your canine and if there are medical or behavioral benefits for doing so.

Should I Neuter My Dog?

There are many situations when you should not neuter your male dog. Below we list several situations where neutering your dog is not necessary.

  • If you plan on breeding your male companion.
  • Your male dog will be participating in shows.
  • They will be hunting dogs or athletes.

It is ok to not neuter your dog in these cases. Dogs that participate in shows will need to show all of their parts. Also, active hunting dogs or athletes will need high testosterone levels to perform well.

If you’re an active pet owner who loves to hike and plan to have your Golden Retriever hike with you for many years to come, then it’s best not to neuter them.

Some canines are very aggressive. Dog owners with young kids may consider neutering their male pooch. After the procedure, watch their behavior very closely. If they are still showing aggressive behavior, it could be due to stress or anxiety.

Playing and chewing on dog toys can help to alleviate any build-up stress or anxiety.

Pros

should i neuter my dog to neuter or not to neuter

Let’s start with the pros. Neutering your dog has many positive medical and behavioral benefits.

1. Medical Benefits

  • Neutering your male dogs help to prevent testicular cancer and some prostate problems. Neutered dogs suffer fewer enlarged prostate cases and infections. Both enlarged prostate and infections are expensive to treat.
  • Male neutered dogs are less likely to contract venereal diseases and breeding-related tumors of the penis.
  • Neutered dogs also have stronger immunity and less likely to catch infectious diseases.

2. Behavioral Benefits

There are several behavioral benefits to neutering your pup. Since both their testicles and associated structures are removed, they will be less likely to fight with other dogs.

3. Male dogs are less likely to roam away from home.

Unneutered male dogs will naturally roam around to try to find a mate. They will do just about anything to find one, including escaping from the house. This is why many owners install a wireless dog fence to prevent their canines from leaving their premises.

Escaping the premise has several consequences. A fast car coming down the street could hit the dog. Other animals in the woods may attack them. If this is your dog’s first time escaping the house, he may get lost.

4. Male dogs may be better behaved.

It is natural for unneutered dogs to mark their territory so if they spray their strong-smelling urine all over your house, don’t be shocked or surprised.

By neutering your pooch, you may start to notice that they are better behaved. They will be less likely to urinate all over your house, mount on other dogs, mount on people’s legs, or mount on inanimate objects.

5. Fewer aggression problems.

If you neuter your male dogs early, you may also avoid aggression problems.

Please note that neutering does not fix all of your pup’s behavioral problems. Although it may reduce unwanted behaviors caused by their high level of testosterone, there’s no guarantee their aggressive or undesirable behaviors will change after being neutered.

While neutering helps reduce the amount of testosterone in your furry friends’ system, it will not eliminate the hormone completely so don’t be surprised if they still show a few aggressive behaviors. How dogs behave after neutering really depends on their personality, physiology, and history.

6. Neutering Reduces Unwanted Dog Pregnancies

You’re helping to reduce unwanted dog pregnancies by neutering your male pup.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), about 6.5 million animals enter the shelter or rescue system every year. Of the 6.5 million, 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.

Additionally, of those 6.5 million animals, only about 3.2 million find their way out of the shelter or rescue and into a home. Many pups in shelters develop behavioral issues due to lack of care or attention and they end up getting euthanized.

Therefore, neutering your dog means you’re saving lives. It’s important to note that the cost of neuter surgery is significantly less than the cost of caring for an unexpected litter.

Cons

According to PLoS One, there are several adverse effects of neutering your dog. Golden Retrievers that were neutered had joint disorders and developed cancer such as osteosarcoma (OSA) and prostate cancer.

Speaking of prostate cancer, scientists said if you allow large-breed dogs to keep their testicles, this lowers their risk of prostate cancer by 1 percent. This 1 percent may not be a significant percentage for dog owners, but it certainly is to scientists.

When it comes to joint disorders, studies showed that large-breed dogs suffer more bone and spleen cancers when they were neutered compared to those who were not.

Best Age to Neuter a Male Dog

best age to neuter a male dog

You can neuter your male dog as early as eight weeks old. Some vets recommend the traditional age of six to nine months because dogs are old enough to tolerate anesthesia and young enough to quickly recover from the neutering surgery.

Dr. Sherry Weaver of Cesar’s Way said neutering earlier than six months could benefit their physical development. Moreover, there’s less risk of being overweight as they grow older.

Make sure your puppies are healthy before neutering so that they can recover nicely from the operation without having any harmful complications. If you prefer to wait until six to nine months before taking them to the clinic for the neutering process, that’s fine too.

Adult dogs can also be neutered but they are at a higher risk of experiencing postoperative complications. The same goes for overweight dogs or dogs with health problems.

Every dog breed is different so the exact age to neuter varies. If you’re not sure, speak with your vet to help you decide the best time to neuter your male canine companions.

When Is It Too Late To Neuter a Dog?

It is never too late to neuter your dog because every breed is different. If you have older dogs, as long as they are healthy and do not have any illness, they can be safely neutered. Try not to neuter your older dogs too late because the benefits that come with neutering will be reduced.

If you have older dogs, it is understandable if you are concerned. When in doubt, call your dog’s vet for pre-surgery blood work. This test will allow the vet to determine the amount of anesthesia dosage that is safe for them.

Your veterinarian may also refuse to neuter your pup after checking their blood work because it may not be safe to do so.

Recovery Time for Neutering a Dog

After the neutering procedure, the anesthesia drug may cause nausea. Some older dogs may not be able to keep up with the stress post-operation. They may even lose their appetite after the surgery. It may take them a few days after the surgery to get back to a normal appetite.

Male dogs can go home right after the neutering procedure if there are no health issues or complications.

Your vet will inform you of any pain medication or aftercare for your pup. It is best to restrict any activity for a few days to allow the incision to heal properly. Some dogs may lick their incision so the vet may recommend a protective collar.

A follow up appointment with the vet is crucial. Your vet will check to see how the incision is healing and remove the stitches accordingly.

Lasting Thoughts

We’ve provided you both the pros and cons of neutering so you can make the best decision for your male pup. It is also never too late to neuter your dogs but do consider their health first. Luckily, your dog’s vet will always check their health first before determining whether to go forward with the neutering process or not.

If you have any doubt, speak with your vet and talk through your concerns. You are not alone in this and they will help you make an informed decision.

DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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